Fool Proof Turkey Roasting Timeline

Whether it’s Thanksgiving, a family get-together or New Years Eve, if you are preparing to entertain this holiday season we’ve got the big bird covered with our foolproof turkey checklist.

Turkey timeline: preparation and cooking

Around this time of the year the main event of any sit down dinner is the turkey. To alleviate performance anxiety, you only need to get the timing right.

2 weeks before the big day

Often, you’ll have to order your turkey in advance due to last minute shortages. To be one hundred percent safe, two weeks is a reasonable lead time to ensure the bird makes its way to your guests.

2-3 days before roasting

The great thaw begins. If you have a frozen turkey, you can expect it to take at least 2 days to thaw. This needs to happen in a refrigerator. If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to get a roasting thermometer. Every oven is different with hot and cool spots so this is the best way to beat dryness

The day before roasting

Remove the innards of the turkey and place in either a bucket or large pot of brine. Brine is a salt-based liquid, which can contain spices, sugar and other goodies to taste. The purpose of the brine is to soften the meat.

The day of roasting

If you are deciding to stuff it instead of cooking the stuffing on the side, you will need to allow time to prepare it before you begin cooking the turkey. The average amount of time it takes to prepare stuffing is 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Cooking a turkey by the hour

Generally, you will need to cook a thawed turkey for a little longer than a fresh turkey depending on your oven so add 10 or more minutes. Also, a turkey will cook more evenly and faster if it is not stuffed. Here are some general guidelines to get you on your way.

10-18 pounds turkey cooking time

Unstuffed: 3-3 ½ hours

Stuffed: 3 ¾ -4 ½ hours

18-22 pounds turkey cooking time

Unstuffed: 3 ½-4 hours

Stuffed: 4 ½ hours – 5 hours

22-24 pounds turkey cooking time

Unstuffed: 4- 4 ½ hours

Stuffed: 5-5 ½ hours

24-29 pounds turkey cooking time

Unstuffed : 4 ½ - 5 hours

Stuffed: 5 ½ - 6 ¼ hours

After roasting

Wait! There is one more step. For a moist, rich turkey you will need to allow standing time. Allow your turkey to rest for a good 10-20 minutes tented in aluminum foil to allow the juices to settle.


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